Explore Marrakech Through These 9 Architectural Gems

Explore Marrakech Through These 9 Architectural Gems
Jamaa el Fnaa Market Square, Marrakech, Photo Credit: Shutterstock

With its many splendid buildings, this ancient city is like an exhibition gallery of architectural diversity

Nikita Nikhil
May 11 , 2020
22 Min Read

Nestled in the foothills of the snow-capped Atlas Mountains, Morocco’s 'Red City' is known for a unique architectural style which has European, African and Arab influences. From an elegant, contemporay airport which is derived from vernacular traditions to ancient palaces and mosques, here's a tour of Marrakech through its architectural gems.  

Marrakech Menara Airport


Facade of  Marrakech Menara Airport

Interior of Marrakech Menara Airport

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Jonathan Choe (@archigardener) on Jan 3, 2018 at 11:23am PST

Details of the Marrakech Menara Airport

A fusion of contemporary architecture and Moroccan traditions, the airport is best known for its innovative façade which filters light through the arabesques that cover the windows. The striking frontage features 24 rhombuses and three triangles with ancient yet stylised Islamic ornamental motifs. 

La MamouniaDeparture hall of Marrakech Menara Airport

Entrance of the La Mamounia Palace

Courtyard of the La Mamounia Palace

Pool facility at the La Mamounia Palace

La Mamounia Palace interior

Exterior gardens at the La Mamounia Palace

Interior of a suite at La Mamounia Palace

This exquisite hotel used to be a former royal estate (from the 12th century) and its blend of art deco and Moorish design has been the backdrop in several films, including the Hitchcock classic, The Man Who Knew Too Much

Yves Saint Laurent

Exterior of Yves Saint Laurent Museum

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by cosimo_venti @cv_ceramic (@cosimoventi) on Dec 7, 2019 at 5:44am PST


View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Raul Eduardo (@raul.alvarado23) on May 3, 2020 at 2:31am PDT

Atelier of Yves Saint Laurent in Yves Saint Laurent Museum

Dedicated to Parisian designer Yves Saint Laurent, this museum is a fusion of fashion and architecture. Its façade incorporates textured terracotta brickwork designed to reflect the warp and weft of fabric. The textile theme continues in the entrance hall with smooth white walls resembling the velvety lining of a couture jacket. 

The Tiskiwin Museum

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Maria Wittendorff (@marrakechguidebook) on Sep 23, 2019 at 10:59pm PDT


View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Carrie Mcdowell (@carriemcdowell_artist) on Oct 27, 2016 at 4:08am PDT


View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Joe Walker☕ï¸ÂðŸ•¶ (@thatcoffeeguyjoe) on Oct 20, 2015 at 8:07am PDT


View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Incredible Morocco (@incrediblemorocco) on Nov 6, 2017 at 11:59am PST


View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Gina De Bellis (@gina.de.bellis) on May 1, 2016 at 11:58am PDT

This two-storeyed riad (a traditional Moroccan house) and museum was founded in 1996 by Dutch anthropologist Bert Flint who set out on a journey to study about rural culture. He travelled from Marrakech to Timbuktu via the High Atlas collecting textiles, ceramics, furniture, carpets and other indigenous crafts. This eclectic collection is now displayed in this structure inspired by Spanish/Moroccan architectural styles.

Koutoubia Mosque

Koutoubia Mosque


View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Firebird Tours ® (@firebirdtours) on Feb 17, 2020 at 7:05am PST

Side view of Koutoubia Mosque

Entrance to the Koutoubia Mosque

The largest mosque in Marrakech and a UNESCO world heritage site, this one known for its intricate 12th century tilework and the traditional, 253-feet high Almohad style minaret adorned with four copper globes. It has been an inspiration for other buildings like the Giralda in Seville and the Hassan Tower in Rabat. 

Ben Youssef Madrasa

Main Yard of Ben Youssef Madrasa

Oriental window carvings at the Ben Youssef Madrasa

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Travel Insider (@insidertravel) on Oct 17, 2017 at 10:26am PDT


View this post on Instagram

A post shared by The Citizenry (@the_citizenry) on Oct 12, 2019 at 8:03am PDT

“You who enter my door, may your highest hopes be exceeded” reads a beautiful inscription on the entrance to this exquisite architectural gem. The largest madrasa in North Africa, its vast, roofless courtyard with a view of an azure sky features marble work, carved cedarwood, and horseshoe archways.  

Dar Si Said

Inside Dar Si Said Museum

Beautiful islamic decorations on the wall and multicolored glasses inside Dar Si Said Museum

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Cindy Pallaut (@cindypllt) on Sep 21, 2016 at 2:19am PDT

Also known as the Museum of Moroccan Arts, the Dar Si Said Museum is a fine 19th-century masterpiece representing Moroccan architecture with elaborate tiled mosaics, filigree carved wooden ceilings and stucco work. 

Saadian Tombs

Saadian Tombs

Intricate tile work over the tombs


View this post on Instagram

A post shared by إناس (@inesbb_) on Sep 4, 2018 at 3:19am PDT


View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Travel | Culture | Photography (@alexblock) on Apr 17, 2018 at 8:05am PDT

Constructed during the reign of Sultan Ahmad al-Mansur (1578-1603), these tombs were neglected for almost two centuries after the fall of the Saadians. It was only in 1917 that a French aerial photography survey spotted the ruins and restored them for public display. Over 170 graves of Moroccan prince and princesses can be found here decorated with coloured tiles and Quranic inscriptions. 

Bahia Palace

Courtyard of Bahia Palace

Beautifully decorated walls and floors with the traditional Moroccan mosaic at Bahia Palace

An old decorated white wall in Bahia Palace

A painted wooden ceiling in the Bahia Palace

Decorated wooden architecture in the Bahia Palace

Artisans across Andalusia and North Africa were employed in the construction process of this palace whose rooms feature carved cedar and zouak painted ceilings. Works of subtle stucco panels, zellige tile decorations and tadelakt finishes can be found all over this beautiful structure.

Related Articles


Here to there

Explore Directions(Routes) and more...
to Go

Other Editions

Outlook’ is India’s most vibrant weekly news magazine with critically and globally acclaimed print and digital editions. Now in its 23rd year...

Explore All
  • Check out our Magazine of the month
  • Offbeat destinations
  • In-depth storytelling
  • Stunning pictures
  • Subscribe